If you want to hang out with a bunch of bees, you'd better be prepared for a little pain.
Mario Padilla, a honeybee researcher at Penn State University, can usually tell when his hives are getting agitated. But he’s already been stung three times today. And he’s about to get it again.
“I got stung!” Mario says, half-laughing. “And that was a sting that was not even an invited sting. That was an I-was-minding-my-own-business sting.”
Padilla is raising these honeybees for researchers like Maryann Frazier, who is studying the effects of pesticides on honeybees. But she says with as much as we rely on honeybees, we almost can’t even think of them as just a species anymore. They've become a system—a technology—that we literally pack in boxes, load onto semi trucks and ship all over the country to do work for us.